When fall and winter arrive, does it seem like you always get sick? Don’t fear the changing seasons anymore – there is help. One of the most effective way to reduce the frequency of colds is by washing your hands on a regular basis. Studies have suggested that by washing your hands can reduce your chances of getting a cold by 50%. (1,2) Other ways of protecting your body from the dreaded yearly cold or flu is by taking an herb called echinacea.
Echinacea (pronounced eck-in-AY-sha) is a safe and effective herb to help the body fight off colds or prevent them entirely. When Echinacea is combined with other herbs that boost the immune system, you will get even greater cold and flu protection. (3,4)
You might be wondering what the difference is between having a cold and having the flu. Both have similar symptoms but very in severity. If you have a cold, you may experience sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, and runny nose. These symptoms usually last a week or so and make life miserable for a short time. With the flu, symptoms start out like a cold but taking a turn for the worst and escalating rapidly. Symptoms can consist of fever, chills, headache, dry cough, sore throat, runny and stuffy nose, severe fatigue, weakness, body aches, and muscle pain. The fever, muscle pain, and aches may go away in a few days with the flu, but the tiredness and fatigue can last weeks.
There are over 200 different viruses known to cause the flu. (1) Influenza viruses are classified by types. Type A, B, or C, each type is capable of causing the flu. People tend to catch a cold when the weather is cool and wet. When it is cold and wet outside, people tend to stay indoors more and more close contact with others pass the flu virus from person to person.
You might wonder why there is not a cure for the common cold or flu. The flu virus continually mutates and changes each year making it difficult to fight. With the increased use of antibiotics these viruses have managed to build up an immunity making it harder to fight every year. Research has developed over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to help treat the common cold or flu, but consuming such medicines might prolong the length of the disease and increase the length of the misery. There are also potential side effects of using OTC cold and flu medications. (5,6)
There are a variety of OTC medications available today such as decongestants to dry up the runny nose and relieve sneezing and watery eyes. For those aches and pains there is acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Aspirin and ibuprofen can help bring down a fever. Both of these fever reducing products come at a cost, they can cause gastrointestinal upset. (7,8) Also, aspirin should not be given to children because it has been linked to the development of Reye’s syndrome, a rare and possibly fatal illness. (1,2)
Acetaminophen used over a long period of time can cause liver and kidney failure. Daily doses of no more than 4000 mgs should be taken to prevent any kind of complications with acetaminophen. Decongestants can cause all sorts of problems such as high blood pressure, accelerated heart beat, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, anxiety, and insomnia. Decongestants can increase the length of nasal congestion so use should be limited if possible. (9,10) The common cold or flu can leave you suffering if left untreated, but nobody wants to prolong the symptoms. Lucky for us there is another answer, echinacea, cedar leaf, and wild indigo root are natural remedies that can help reduce the severity and length of the common cold.
Contrary to the medical establishment’s belief, herbal extracts are really effective for colds and flu. Echinacea is one of the most effective remedies on the market today. This plant has a beautiful purple cone flower in the summer and helps treat common cold symptoms along with reducing infections after being exposed to them. (11)
Back when settlers came to America, they had trouble the first winter and the Native Americans inhabiting the land showed them echinacea to treat illnesses and injuries. Knowledge of herbs was passed down to settlers who discovered its ability to treat the common cold and flu. In 1920, doctors were prescribing echinacea and other herbs to help heal the body, but in the 1930s sulfa drugs came out and herbal remedies were quickly forgotten. Echinacea gave way to antibiotics to treat colds and flu in America, but over in Europe herbs are still used regularly. Scientists in Germany continued to study echinacea and its properties, now there are over 280 commercial preparations containing echinacea in Germany. (12) Also, in Germany a discovery was made by combining white cedar leaf and wild indigo root with echinacea, combined to increase immune system health which helps one fight off the common cold and flu.
Herbal extracts gained more interest in the early 1960’s where echinacea gained a loyal following ever since. To date echinacea continues to be and impressive herb against colds and flu. There are three varieties of echinacea available in your health food store. These popular varieties are echinacea angustifolia, echinacea purpurea, and echinacea pallida. Most studies done on echinacea were the purpurea and pallida variety.
Because echinacea works so well, there has been quite a bit of research done to discover why it helps so well with colds and flu. Antibiotics kill the disease that causes sickness, echinacea on the other hand boosts the immune system, to be specific echinacea boosts the production of macrophage an aspect of the immune system that engulfs bacteria and viruses killing them. Macrophage is the body’s first defense against invading bacteria and viruses. Echinacea also helps enhance the function of monocytes, blood cells that mature into macrophage. Echinacea boosts the number of natural killer (NK) cells and those cells activity in the body. NK cells are programmed to seek out and kill invading bodies such as viruses.
Echinacea also boosts the production of Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interferons. Along with echinacea, white cedar leaf and wild indigo both boost the production of TNF, macrophage and interferon production in the body.
Safety might be a concern to those who are considering echinacea, white cedar leaf and wild indigo as a remedy. The German Commission E recommends (GCE) the use of these herbs only if you do not have an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, HIV, or AIDS. Because these herbs boost the immune system, one with the above autoimmune diseases would not want over activation of their immune system which might progress the disease. Allergic reaction may occur in some who are allergic to rag weed or plants in the sunflower family. The GCE also recommends short term use of echinacea no more than 6 weeks. Wild indigo and white cedar leaf do not have this limitation and can be taken year round.
The amount of echinacea consumed by an individual should be measured by the age of an individual. For adults and children over 12, one should consume 7.5mg of standardized echinacea 3 times a day to fight a cold. White cedar leaf should be taken in 2 mg doses 3 times a day and wild indigo should be taken in 10 mg doses 3 times a day as well.
If you are around someone who has a cold, remember to wash your hands on a regular basis and the dosing of herbs mentioned above can be followed to help fight off a cold before it starts. Echinacea is used more often then any other herb in the United States this is because it works. Do not worry if you have not gotten a flu shot, there is hope in herbs such as echinacea, white cedar leaf and wild indigo root that can help boost your immune system to keep you strong and healthy throughout the cold season. These and many other wonderful herbs can be found at your local health food store.
1. The Common Cold. National Institutes of Health Web site. Availabl
e at: www. niaid. nih. gov/factsheets/cold.htm. Accessed on April 30, 2001.
2. Flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at: wwwcdc. gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/fluinfo.htm. Accessed April 30, 2001.
3. Wustenberg R, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Kohler G, Stammwitz U. Efficacy and mode of action of an immunomodulator herbal preparation containing echinacea, wild indigo, and white cedar. Adv Ther. 1999;16:51-70.
4. Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Hentschel C, Schnitker J, Kohnen R, Kohler G, Wustenberg P. Efficacy and safety of a fixed combination phytomedicine in the treatment of the common cold (acute viral respiratory tract infection): results of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study. Curr Med Res Op. 1999;15:214-227.
5. Karch AM, Karch FE. Let the user beware. OTC drugs aren’t necessarily ’safe when taken as directed.’ Am J Nurs. 2001;101:25.
6. Ornato JP. Over-the-counter stroke? Health News. 2000;6:3.
7. Hirschowitz BI, Hawkey CJ. Questions regarding future research on aspirin and the gastrointestinal tract. Am J Med. 2001;110(Suppl):S74-S78.
8. Hunt RH, Bowen B, Mortensen ER, et al. A randomized trial measuring fecal blood loss after treatment with rofecoxib, ibuprofen, or placebo in healthy subjects. Am J. Med. 2000;109:201-206.
9. Graf P. Adverse effects of benzalkonium chloride on the nasal mucosa: allergic rhinitis and rhinitis medicamentosa. Clin Ther. 1999;21:1749-1755.
10. Graf P. Rhinitis medicamentosa: aspects of pathophysiology and treatment. Allergy. 1997;52:28-34.
11. Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Echinacea. Tyler’s Herbs of Choice. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press; 1999: 253-257
12. Foster S, Tyler VE. Echinacea. In: The Honest Herbal. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press; 1999:143-145.
Chamomile a plant which belongs to the family of sunflowers has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It contains antioxidants from flavonoids, such as quercetin and luteolin, and chamazulene(an essential oil).
A background on inflammation:
The onset of inflammations like arthritis, acne and rosacea constricts the blood vessels as the tissues become inflamed. This results to a less blood supply going to the cells in the area of inflammation.
Less Blood Supply Lesser Cell Functioning
Cells need ample amounts of blood for it to function properly. Lesser blood supply deteriorates the cell’s performance until it becomes almost useless. Since it does not function normally anymore, our body treats it as a threat and attacks them.
Our antibodies attacks threats by encapsulating them and produces free radicals to kill the invaders. Free radicals can cause a chain reaction and eventually kill the cells inside the encapsulation. The term for this is respiratory or oxidative burst.
This process can cause some free radicals escaping the encapsulation and could trigger free radical chain reactions to healthy cells.
Therefore the cell’s functions in inflamed tissues deteriorates which then triggers our own antibodies to attack them leading to exposure of free radicals to nearby healthy cells. The more the tissues are inflamed the more our cells are exposed to free radicals which could result to cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
Antioxidants can neutralize or quench these free radicals escaping the encapsulation. Our bodies are equipped with its own antioxidants to neutralize free radicals but may become depleted as the demand rises.
The need for extra antioxidants become apparent. Chamomile is a source for antioxidants to protect the cells from oxidative damage and subdue the inflammation with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile can be taken internally or externally.
Dried leaves of chamomile can be used as an herbal tea. Drinking this tea can introduce the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile inside your body. It is commercially available in tea bags.
Other Health Benefits of Chamomile – to name just a few.
-As an herbal home remedy for rosacea and acne.
-treatment for diarrhea, indigestion, irritable bowel movement, ulcers
-treatment for anxiety, insomnia
-treatment for eye irritations and conjunctivitis
-helps in healing wounds
As you can see, chamomile has many other medicinal uses. It maybe good to consider chamomile as a part of an anti-inflammatory diet but it is not advised for pregnant or breast feeding women. People allergic to ragweed are also not advised to use chamomile. If you are taking other medication, please consult a health professional before embarking on a chamomile diet.
To lose weight is a big precedence for many citizens but everybody does not like taking diet tablets that are made from chemical. Keeping in mind the demand of the market Herbal Weight Loss pills are brought into the marketplace. Nowadays, whether you go to neighboring health store, drug store or just surfing the net, you are certain to come across these herbal weight loss tablets that help you to reduce weight.
Even though each type of natural weight loss tablet comprises of different components, there are many components that are universal to most of the brands. Much time there has been a debate about how much effective and safe these tablets are.
One of an extremely admired element of natural weight loss tablets is Ephedra, but in fact it is conceived to be potentially harmful by the Administration of Food & Drug. It is used as a component in weight loss through herbal tablets that are planned to swap “fen-phen”. Yet, this anti- corpulence remedy has currently been banned. Even though this prohibition does not essentially reflect on ephedra at all, still ephedra based goods definitely fall into the group of unapproved diet tablets.
Of necessity, is the reality that ephedra is the natural origin of the amphetamine-like stimulus which is know as ephedrine. Ephedrine is a dominant decongestant, and also helps in burn fat quickly and also to suppress the appetite. Despite these gains, the risks involved are such that it is best kept off. In natural weight loss tablets, ephedra is known to cause irregular heartbeat, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, insomnia and raised blood pressure.
There are many additional herbal tablet components which are regarded as less hazardous. HCA or Hydroxycitric acid does a brilliant job of relaxing the translation of saccharides into fats. This kind of herbal extort is very efficient at supporting weight loss, and is currently used in many marketable diet tablets as well.
A very common component that comes at number three is pyruvate that is an herbal composite sourced from plants and animals. This is rather an efficient weight loss aid, but we should take care to stick to the suggested dose. Consuming too many of these tablets can result in diarrhea and bloating.
Last but not the least there is a component named phenylpropanolamine, also known as PPA. For many years this component enjoyed a fabulous status as an agent in weight loss.
Constipation is one of the most widespread gastrointestinal complaints in the United States, ensuing in about 2 million doctor visits per annum. However, most people treat themselves without looking for medical help, as is obvious from the millions of dollars people waste on laxatives each year. When compared to other diseases constipation is effortlessly curable by holding appropriate dietary model. The hard and dry stools of constipation happen when the colon absorbs too much water or if the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too gradually.
Constipation is a ordinary disorder of the digestive region. In this situation, the bowels do not move frequently, or are not entirely emptied when they move. This state is the chief source of a lot of diseases as it produces toxins, which find their way into the bloodstream and are passed to all parts of the body
Uncommonness, irregularity in removal of hard faecal matter
The most ordinary symptoms of constipation are infrequency, irregularity or obscurity in elimination of the hard faecal matter.
Coated tongue, Foul breath, headache, depression etc
The other signs include a coated tongue, foul breath, loss of appetite, headache, giddiness, dark circles under the eyes, depression, nausea, pimples on the face, ulcer in the mouth, constant fullness in the abdomen, diarrhea alternating with constipation, varicose veins, pain in the lumbar region, acidity, heart burn, and insomnia
Causes of Constipation
Faulty diet and method of living
The most significant causes of chronic constipation are a faulty diet and style of living.
Inadequate intake of water, strong tea and coffee etc
Intake of refined and rich foods lacking in vitamins and minerals, insufficient intake of water, consumption of meat in large quantities, excessive use of strong tea and coffee, inadequate chewing, overeating and wrong combination of foods, irregular habits of eating and drinking may all give to poor bowel function.
Irregular habit of defecation, lack of physical movement
Other factors include faulty and irregular habit of defecation, frequent use of purgatives, weakness of abdominal muscles due to sedentary habits, lack of physical activity, and emotional anxiety and strain.
Home Remedies for Constipation
1. Constipation treatment via Bael Fruit
Normally all fruits, except banana and jackfruit, are useful in the treatment of constipation. Certain fruits are, however, more useful. Bael fruit is regarded as the finest of all laxatives. It cleans and tones up the bowels. Its normal use for two or three months throws out even the old accumulated faecal matter. It must be rather taken in its original form and before dinner. About sixty grams of the fruit are enough for an adult.
2. Constipation treatment with Pear
Pears are useful in the treatment of constipation. Patients suffering from chronic constipation must accept an exclusive diet of this fruit or it’s juice for a few days, but in normal cases, a medium-sized pear taken after dinner or with breakfast will have the desired effect.
3. Constipation treatment with Guava
Guava is another helpful remedy for constipation. When eaten with seeds, it provides roughage to the diet and helps in the standard evacuation of the bowels. One or two guavas should be taken daily.
4. Constipation treatment with Grapes
Grapes have proved very helpful in overcoming constipation. The combination of the properties of the cellulose, sugar, and organic acid in grapes build them a laxative food. Their field of action is not inadequate to clearing the bowels only. They also tone up the stomach and intestines and reduce the most chronic constipation. One must take at least 350 gm of this fruit daily to achieve the desired results. When fresh grapes are not obtainable, raisins, soaked in water, can be used. Raisins must be soaked for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This will make them swell up to the original size of the grapes. They must be eaten early in the morning, along with the water in which they have been soaked.
5. Constipation treatment with Orange
Orange is also beneficial in the constipation treatment. Taking one or two oranges at bedtime and again on increasing in the morning is an excellent way of stimulating the bowels. The all-purpose stimulating influence of orange juice stimulates peristaltic activity and helps prevent the accumulation of food residue in the colon.
6. Constipation treatment using Papaya and Figs
Other fruits specific for constipation are papaya and figs. Partly a medium-sized papaya should be eaten at breakfast for it to act as a laxative. Four or five dry figs must be soaked overnight in a little water and eaten in the morning.
7. Constipation treatment with Spinach
Among the vegetables, spinach has been measured to be the most vital food for the entire digestive tract from time immemorial. Raw spinach holds the finest organic material for the cleansing, reconstruction, and regeneration of the intestinal tract. Raw spinach juice-100 ml, mixed with an identical quantity of water and taken twice daily, will cure the most aggravated cases of constipation in a few days.
8. Constipation treatment by means of Other Remedies
Half a lime, squeezed is a glass of hot water, with half a teaspoon of salt is also an effective medicine for constipation. Drinking water, which has been kept overnight in a copper vessel, first thing in the morning, brings superior results. Linseed (alse) is extremely useful in complicated cases of constipation. A teaspoon of linseed swallowed with water before each meal offers both roughage and lubrication
Only those of us that suffer or have suffered from sleep depravation can truly understand what it’s like to try and think and function as a human being running on half steam. There are so many causes for sleeplessness that there is no cure-for-all remedy or treatment. However, so long as you can identify the root cause of your problem, you will be in a much better position to find the right treatments, cures, and remedies for your condition.
One of the more common yet most overlooked causes for insomnia is simply because folks have gotten themselves into bad sleep patterns. By this I mean going to bed at a different time every night, staying up all night and sleeping all day at the weekends, and basically just not practicing any kind of sleep routine.
People who develop a consistent routine of waking up and going to bed at the same time everyday, (even at the weekends), often find they can say goodbye to their lack of sleep once and for all, and once again, they are able to function normally during the daylight hours. If you have problems sleeping, you might want to take a look at your sleep pattern.
People who worry a lot often find they take their woes to be with them, and this can keep us tossing and turning all night long. My grandmother used to say, “You die if you worry, and you die if you don’t! So why worry?” Okay so that’s easier said than done, but if this is you then you really should try not to take your worries to bed with you. After all, you can’t do everything at once, and whatever it is that’s keeping you awake will be there in the morning whether you sleep or not. Be good to yourself and try to live in the moment as much as possible.
There are many great books on how to live in the ‘now’ and some folks find that by adopting some of the suggestions outlined in these publications, they are able to get their sleep back on track.
One friend of mine that used to suffer greatly from insomnia found a simple yet powerful bedtime ritual which has helped him sleep like a log ever since. Before he puts his head on the pillow at night he asks himself 2 questions. 1. “Did I deliberately upset or hurt anyone today?” and, 2. “Did I do anything to deliberately upset or hurt myself today?”
But even if he answers ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, he promises himself that he’ll try harder to be more tolerant and compassionate towards himself and others tomorrow. Simple, yet effective way of clearing the mind of any wrongdoing, and it’s quite often this latent and subconscious shame or guilt that we carry around which keeps many of us awake at night. Sound daft? Try it! You could be pleasantly surprised by the results.
There are many treatments and remedies for sleeplessness, some good, some not so good, and other which are just pure poppycock, and it’s important to note that what works for one may not work for another. Finding a cure for ‘your’ sleep problem is first identifying the cause, and then practicing a few of the suggested treatments and remedies.
Some of the more simple solutions for mild sleep disorders include exercising in the afternoon, drinking warm milk or other warm bedtime beverage before going to sleep, avoiding anything too mentally stimulating during the evening hours, and just getting into the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.